Elisabeth Furtwängler’s death at 102 illustrates an emerging law (was it always there?) that widows of classical musicians live a very long time.
Aino Sibelius died in 1969 aged 97.
Elsa Respighi died in 1996 at 101.
Sidonie Goossens died in 2004 at 104; she was a Goossens sibling, not spouse, but her first husband was a musician.
Ursula Vaughan Williams died in 2007 at a mere 96.
Madeleine Milhaud died in 2008 aged 105.
Lady Barbirolli died the same year at 97.
Lady Bliss died the same year aged 104.
Lady Walton is an exception: she was only 83 when she died in 2010 (on the same day as Wagner’s grandson, who was 90).
Frank Martin’s widow is still alive at nearly 100.
Ken Russell made a 52-minute film called Classic Widows for the South Bank Show (ITV, 1995) about the widows of William Walton, Bernard Stevens, Benjamin Frankel and Humphrey Searle.
First clip of four.